Posters are simple and straightforward—-an eye-catching image, a few words, and you’re done. Stick it up, anywhere people might see it. A lot of great and memorable posters have been created in the last 100 years or so. Today, just a few, all from England.

AE Halliwell Circus Poster c. 1930

AE Halliwell, Railway Poster, c. 1930

Tom Eckersley (1914-1997), 1961 Poster for British Railways

Tom Eckersley, 1975 Poster for British libraries

Tom Eckersley, 1985 Poster for lecture on early photography

Tom Eckersley, 1993 Poster for exhibition of work by Eckersley and FHK Henrion

Tom Eckersley, 1968 Poster for London Underground

Tom Eckersley, 1965 poster for paper company

Tom Eckersley 1983 Poster for exhibit at School of Graphic Design in Newcastle

Tom Eckersley, 1986 Poster for World Wildlife Fund 25th Anniversary

Tom Eckersley, Poster for exhibit 1986

All of the above from VADS (the Visual Arts Data Service) collections, which include extensive images from the Eckersley Archive at the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre and the Halliwell Collection at the National Arts Education Archive (Trust)

The above is not, strictly, a poster. It is a stencil originally spray painted on a wall (in Bethlehem, below) by Banksy, Britain’s most famous/notorious/elusive public artist.

A movie has just been released about Banksy and other freelance public image makers. The rich tradition of powerful images in public places continues in England.

The above Banksy image was inadvertently painted over by local council workers, as reported here.

By their nature, posters and unsolicited wall images are not meant to last. They make their point, and then, usually, make way for something else. That’s part of their value and charm, I guess.